The lack of specialists with graduate education in the nursing profession is a problem that undermines the prestige and effectiveness of the trade (Cherry & Jacob, 2016; Darbyshire & McKenna, 2013). Moreover, it affects job satisfaction as less educated nurses earn poor wages and are prone to dislike their occupation (Pijl-Zieber, Barton, Konkin, Awosoga, & Caine, 2014). Therefore, there is a need to receive first-hand data on the occupation as seen by nurses with higher levels of education such as master’s degrees. This will presumably give an incentive for other nurses to further their knowledge and skills achieving higher degrees.
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Overview of the Master’s-Prepared Nurse’s Career
The respondent’s path in the nursing profession began from college. He understood that the basic step to becoming a nurse is to receive a status of a registered nurse (RN). He was also having in mind a vocational training program that would allow him to become a licensed practical nurse (LPN). The difference between professions was rather small except for the latter is specialized more in basic care, while RN training allows more in-depth knowledge. In addition, vocational training programs were becoming less recognized and valued, so the respondent opted to enroll in a four-year college nursing program and become an RN (DeWit & O’Neill, 2013).
At college, he studied biology, microbiology, chemistry, nursing, and other disciplines. Above that, he was serving as an intern at a local hospital. After receiving a college degree and successfully passing an RN standard national examination (NCLEX), he began working full-time at a Cardiac Treatment Center. After two years, he realized that he wanted to progress and advance as a professional, but his theoretical knowledge was lacking for that. Nursing research was one of his spheres of interest that also contributed to his willingness to receive master’s training. Grand Canyon University has become his choice. Having worked primarily with the elder public, he decided to specialize in gerontology (Grand Canyon University, n.d.).
For two years, he received a great deal of practical and theoretical knowledge such as advanced health assessment, clinical diagnosis, care management, etc. His two-year hospital practice has enabled the interviewee to better understand and use his knowledge to advance his skills at his current position. After receiving his certification as a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner at American Nurses Credentialing Center, he began practicing as a lead gerontologist at Logistics Health Inc. as a nurse practitioner.
Reason for Seeking Graduate Education
The interviewee noted that one of the first reasons to advance knowledge in nursing was salary. After becoming an NP, his annual income has increased 30-40 percent. Additionally, he wanted to diagnose and treat people without the need to consult other specialists. He is now able to do so, as his level of expertise has risen manifold. At Cardiac Treatment Center, he was mostly assessing and documenting disease progression or remission, while now he is licensed to authorize treatment. Also, he was more interested in gerontology than adult treatment, which has led him to choose his master’s program.
Description of Present Position and Role
At his present position as an NP, he provides all-around care including, assessment, diagnosis, treatment planning, treatment implementation, and post-treatment assessment. The competencies required for the position are as follows: the knowledge of common chronic diseases, evidence-based ways of treating them, an eye for detail, independent decision-making, and reliability. The role of the interviewee in this position is to be a personal home care nurse for a specific patient, which places a burden of responsibility on such a nurse. The respondent also mentioned, that his role is also in establishing a personal connection with a patient in order to increase compliance and, therefore, the effectiveness of the treatment.
The usefulness of Graduate Education for Present Role
The position that the interviewee currently occupies would not be achievable without master-level knowledge. Having the ability to use evidence-based data and create it is one of the most significant bonuses of graduate education. His knowledge of gerontology and communication skills that he learned during his program has led him to become one of the top-performing NPs in the organization. According to him, education, and especially, master’s degree allowed him to feel more confident at work.
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Pearls of Wisdom He or She Is Willing to Share
A piece of advice that the interviewee wanted to share revolves around education. He said that it is never a waste of time if one learns something about his profession. He asks future nurses who think about graduate education should never hesitate if there is a chance to receive it. Despite the fact that such education might become costly, the long-term benefits outweigh those costs. Additionally, he advises undergraduate nurses to think about the field that they want to specialize in order not to waste time and effort on a profession that does not bring one satisfaction. In order to do that, he said, it is beneficial to work in a variety of settings.
To conclude, a master’s degree broadens one’s horizons and allows one to achieve higher career prospects. A Master’s degree gives the necessary amount of knowledge and skills to lead the treatment from the beginning to an end, which builds confidence and satisfaction. The competencies that the interviewee mentioned aligns with the master’s essentials identified by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN, 2011). As such, one can name comprehensive assessment, evidence-based interventions, and knowledge of common illnesses and diseases. Personally, after conducting an interview, I decided to try and enroll in a master’s program as it provides excellent career options, job satisfaction, and effectiveness of one’s practice.
AACN. (2011). The essentials of master’s education in nursing. Web.
Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Darbyshire, P., & McKenna, L. (2013). Nursing’s crisis of care: What part does nursing education own? Nurse Education Today, 33(4), 305-307.
DeWit, S. C., & O’Neill, P. A. (2013). Fundamental concepts and skills for nursing. New York, NY: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Grand Canyon University. (n.d.). Graduate Certificate of Completion in Geropsychology. Web.
Pijl-Zieber, E. M., Barton, S., Konkin, J., Awosoga, O., & Caine, V. (2014). Competence and competency-based nursing education: Finding our way through the issues. Nurse Education Today, 34(5), 676-678.